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Mapping out Native American Space in Contemporary Anishinaabe Literature

Jobin, Danne (2019) Mapping out Native American Space in Contemporary Anishinaabe Literature. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:80628)

Language: English
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The literary production of contemporary Anishinaabe writers Louise Erdrich, David Treuer and Gerald Vizenor outline imaginary geographies based in Northern Dakota and Minnesota that also branch out towards transnational spaces. By reading contemporary Anishinaabe fiction as literary cartography, this thesis reveals the complex maps of interaction that connect reservation spaces with a much wider range of environments by both integrating and expanding upon Indigenous histories of mobility to include border-crossings and international exchanges. The networks that emerge suggest the possibility of a more expansive Native space that nevertheless asserts Anishinaabe self-determination and sovereignty. This project aims to answer Lisa Brooks's question "What kind of map emerges [...] when the texts of Anglo-American history and literature are participants in Native space rather than the center of the story?" (The Common Pot) by using literary cartography from a tribally-centred perspective and relying on Indigenous methodologies to let meaning emerge from the texts themselves.

The thesis is structured geographically and temporally starting, in the introduction, with the tribe's western migration in the mid-nineteenth century to outline the mobile practices of the Anishinaabe. Chapter one focuses on the reservation to map out space dynamically by revealing the many pathways that cross its boundaries and the mobile relationship of characters with the land. In chapter two, urban spaces are reclaimed as part of an Indigenous tradition of movement; the novels use artwork or translation as metaphors for the ties between urban characters and the reservation to establish Indigenous networks that reach into the cities. Chapter three offers a hemispheric reading of the primary texts, explores transatlantic connections, and looks at global networks in order to show how transnational encounters can simultaneously acknowledge the complexity of settler histories and intercultural exchanges while maintaining an Indigenous lens through which wide-ranging spaces are apprehended. Chapter four looks at speculative fiction that explores different possibilities for citizenship and land-based sovereignty to envision territorial futurities for Anishinaabe people. Finally, the Coda discusses digitised environments that repeat traumas inherited from the past even as they attempt to create different outcomes for the future. Together, these readings constitute a dynamic map of networks that reclaim a wide variety of spaces as Native through a sovereign aesthetic that is fundamentally Anishinaabe.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Stirrup, David
Uncontrolled keywords: Native American Literature, Indigenous Studies, Spatial Studies, Literary cartography, Louise Erdrich, Gerald Vizenor, David Treuer, Transnational, Mobility, Tribal sovereignty
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2020 10:10 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 14:09 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Jobin, Danne.

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